A Day in Egypt

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - October 12, 2013
Spoilers:  None
Size: 61 kb
Written:  September 22-23, 2010, March 30-31, April 2-5,9-11,16,20, 2011
Summary:  Daniel takes three of the children on a special trek to Egypt.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Alverine, Classic, Navi, Mama Bear!

A Day in Egypt
by Orrymain

Little Danny's smile was grand as he tried to take in everything he could.  The young boy was seated in the front passenger seat.  In the back were his brothers, David and Jonny.  Like Little Danny, David had a very happy expression on his face as he soaked in the environment.  As for the sandy-haired Munchkin, he was just happy to be present.

Driving the jeep was Doctor Daniel Jackson-O'Neill, archaeologist and father of the three boys.  He knew the children were eager to explore and were excited about this sojourn away from the family's vacation in Minnesota.

~This definitely wasn't a planned side trip.~

The Jackson-O'Neill family's plans were to spend Brianna's birthday and the Columbus Day weekend in Minnesota at their cabin compound.  Indeed, they'd had a great time celebrating the tomboy's thirteenth birthday.  Then late that afternoon Daniel had received an unusual phone call from a contact in Egypt.

//Flashback//
“Danny, your mouth is open and you have that look,” Jack told his Love as he walked into the bedroom of their cabin.

“Um, Jack, it's ... it's incredible,” the younger man opined as he stared at his phone, checking out some information that might be needed in the near future.

“Glad to hear it.  What's incredible?”

“That was a friend of mine, a contact in the Antiquities Department in Egypt.  You won't believe it,” Daniel related in a daze.

“Try me,” the silver-haired man suggested, grateful when his soulmate finished his task and finally looked up to explain what was happening.

Jack listened as Daniel expounded on the unique opportunity.  In essence, an Egyptian leader in the archaeology field had offered the archaeologist a chance to come to Egypt to get a rare look inside the totality of The Great Pyramid, which was not currently open to the public.  His advice was also being sought to evaluate a couple of relics that had been unearthed at another of the pyramids in Giza.  He was also told that he could bring two or three others with him, but no more than that.

“They've unearthed a lot of toys, right?” Jack questioned, just managing to hide his grin.  ~Some of those toys were fun to mess around with in his old SGC office.~

“Yes, Jack,” Daniel responded, smiling just a little.  “They've found a lot in the last decade.”

“And you haven't had a chance to see the half of it.”

“This place, the five chambers, I've always known about them, but the opportunity has never been there to actually go inside.  The public's never been allowed, and, well, actually, only a few people have ever been up there since their discovery.  From what I've been told in the past, they aren't exactly easy to get to.”

“Okay, so when?” Jack questioned, very open to see his husband accept the offer.

“Now,” Daniel sighed.  “In fact, if we're going, we need to get going.  I'd have to take the truck, Jack, and we'd need to leave tonight to get to the airport.”

Silently, the archaeologist was glad that Jack had decided to bring his Ford pickup truck along on the cabin retreat.  That wasn't something they always did now that they had Betsy, their RV.

“Commercial trip then,” Jack surmised.

“Looks like it; there's no time to fly back to get the Learjet,” Daniel acknowledged about the plane that their best client, Abayomi Sharif, had gifted to them just a couple of months prior.

“Okay, so David and Little Danny?”

Daniel stared at his lover, a pleased look on his face, and asked, “You're really okay with this?”

“Daniel, you just said it yourself.  This is once in a lifetime gig, right?”

“Well, it's rare.  I don't know that it's a *once* in a lifetime chance, but it's something that doesn't happen everyday,” the archaeologist amended.  ~I can't believe that I could be seeing the chambers at last.~

“Then you need to take advantage of it.  Besides, if those unidentifiable relics turn out to be Goa'uld, we need to handle that.”

“Do you think you should give General Landry a heads up?”

With a thoughtful sigh, Jack answered, “Let's wait.  Maybe it won't be Goa'uld.”

“You hope,” Daniel replied lightly.

“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged.  “So you take them up on the invite.  Logic dictates that David and Little Danny should get to go with you.”

“I can take one more.”

“Let's open it up to the brood,” Jack suggested.
//End of Flashback//

After some deliberation, the children had voted to let Jonny accompany Daniel, David, and Little Danny on the adventure.  It hadn't been a hands down decision, though, as both Lulu and Jenny were very interested in going, too.  Ultimately, the deciding factor was Jonny's insistence that he had to go in order to protect his siblings.  It was his duty as the oldest Munchkin, so he'd put forth.

Being that the family traveled so much, all of their passports were always kept up to date and taken with them when traveling.  All important vaccinations were taken as required.  Jack and Daniel just never knew when they'd have to go out of the country, and that meant making sure that the kids were ready to go anywhere at anytime as well.

Yesterday had been a travel day for Daniel and his eager children.  He'd made sure they'd had a full night's sleep before leaving their Cairo hotel for their first destination, which hadn't been easy to do since they had a view of the pyramids from their hotel room.  After all, the towering pyramids were only eleven or so miles outside of the Egyptian city.

Amid all their excitement, though, one thing had alarmed the children.

//Flashback//
“Daddy, what's all that?” Little Danny asked, pointing out the window.  ~This looks bad; suffocating,~ his young genius decried within himself.

“That what?” Daniel returned as he looked at the window towards the Giza Plateau.

“It's fog,” Jonny guessed.

Daniel sighed, “No, it's not fog.  It's, well, it's smog, Egyptian style.”

“What does that mean, Daddy?” David asked.

The archaeologist sat down in a chair that he pulled over to face outside.  The kids faced the pyramids.  David continued standing his hands on the edge of the window as he looked outside.

“You've been to Los Angeles.  You've seen it before,” Daniel reminded the children sadly.

“But these are the pyramids, Daddy,” Little Danny bemoaned.  ~It's beautiful.  Why wouldn't they keep it safe?~

“They acting covert,” Jonny put forth, feeling the three pyramids were stealthily hiding behind a layer of gunk.

“I wish it was just an act, but you can see how big Cairo is,” Daniel replied.  “Look out there.  Buildings are everywhere, just like in America.  Look down.  Taxis are like bumper cars.  You saw that when we drove here from the airport.  It was mayhem and that traffic was scary.  They aren't protecting themselves, and what disturbs me is that we don't have a whole lot of room to complain.”

“You mean because we have smog, too,” David surmised.

“That's right.  How can we justify criticizing the Egyptians for what we do at home?  It would be very hypocritical of us.”

“But it's the pyramids,” Little Danny returned with a purely sad expression.  ~It shouldn't be this way.~

“I know, and that's one of the reasons why they are in the middle of this restoration project.  The leaders here recognize that the pyramids are deteriorating much faster than they would be otherwise.  That's one very good thing about the Egyptian government: they definitely do recognize the value of the pyramids.  The Great Pyramid itself is the only surviving edifice of the seven original wonders of the world.  Look at it, boys, towering over the city.  Think about how long ago it was built, over forty-six centuries ago.”

“That's a long time,” Jonny interjected.

“You can say that again,” David mused.

“That's a long time,” Jonny repeated, getting chuckles from his family.

“How come there's so much smog?” the child prodigy questioned.

“Well, Cairo has over twelve-thousand factories within its boundaries.  Add to that the open burning of their garbage, thousands of vehicles spewing out exhaust every day, and the burning of rice straw, and the city and the pyramids are in big trouble.  Sometimes it gets so bad that you can't see across the street.  People, especially tourists, feel like wearing masks to protect themselves from the pollutants in the air.  It's just ... it's not a good situation.”

“What's rice straw?” the oldest triplet inquired.

“Rice straw is a by-product of growing rice, and they end up with a few tons of it every year when they harvest the rice fields and go through the rice milling process.  Now they are getting better with this.  They used to burn just about all of it, but some companies are working more efficiently these days and they've implemented other uses for the rice straw, such as livestock feed and mulch on farms.  They've also begun using it as building material and biofuel.  Actually, now that I think about it, they're doing a pretty good job of eliminating the Black Cloud.”

“Black Cloud?” David inquired.  ~Sounds like one of Jen's depressing poems that I read in her diary.  Oops, better not think about that.  She'd kill me if she knew I read part of it.~

“That's what the Egyptians call the smog days where the sky is black from rice straw burning.  During harvest season, it used to be a regular thing.”

“So there's hope, right, Daddy?” Little Danny asked with besieging blue eyes.

“There's always hope, Sproglet.”
//End of Flashback//

Refreshed, eager, and no longer thinking about Cairo's special fog, the four had begun their excursion with a stop at the Antiquities Office where Daniel reviewed the relics he'd been told about.  Fortunately, there was nothing alien about them, which meant the archaeologist could devote the day to his children and exploring a much-revered site.

Thus, after some discussion about the purpose for the unusual objects, Daniel and the kids were once again traveling in a rented jeep, and this time their destination was the ancient pyramid.  Their excitement about what they would shortly be seeing was like a thermometer's mercury going higher and higher.

“Daddy, how much further?” Little Danny inquired, wondering just how long it would be until they reached their destination which just kept getting bigger and bigger the further they drove.

“About fifteen minutes,” Daniel answered.  “Uh, listen, let's talk for a second.”  He pulled the jeep over to the side of the road and turned off the engine.  “This is very important.  Where we are going isn't open to the public right now.  It's dangerous because workers are restoring this part of the Giza Necropolis.  Most of the time, they have at least one of them open to the public, but not today.”

Daniel went on to remind the children that he'd gotten special permission from the renowned Egyptologist in charge of the restoration project to bring the three children along.  It was only Daniel's reputation that had allowed the permission to cautiously be given and the invitation extended to him.

“We're glad he needed your advice, Daddy,” Little Danny responded.

“Well, it wasn't him, but one of the Antiquities staff,” Daniel clarified.  “He just wanted me to look at a couple of the relics they'd found.”

Starting up the jeep again, the archaeologist quickly picked up speed.  He was thrilled to be in Egypt as well.  The restoration project had been going on for a long time and it would be years, decades even, before it would be completed.  Tourists were still allowed to visit some of the pyramids, but those sites tended to shift a bit depending on what work was being done as well as by the results of the frequent safety evaluations.

====

Daniel and the children were greeted by Jaro Bayoumi, the man who had delivered the invitation on behalf the Antiquities leader.  He would be attached to the visitors for the day.

“They are young, Daniel,” Jaro stated in surprise with a thick accent.  ~Wow, you have changed much over the years.  Your hair is much shorter and you look so broad.  You would not have been beaten up that night, had you been like this back then.~

“And tough,” Daniel replied, smiling at the children who walked a couple of steps ahead of the grownups.  “They've been around the world, Jaro, on some very difficult digs.  I won't let them get hurt, but I'm going to let them see as much as they can, as long as it's okay with your boss.”

“It is up to you, Daniel.”

“Can we touch it?” David asked, spinning around to face his father and the Egyptian.

“Go ahead,” Jaro permitted, waving away a guard, one of several who were regularly stationed around the pyramid to prevent visitors from touching the ancient structure without permission.

For a while, the group just walked around the large object.  Daniel silently recalled past trips to the Pyramid of Khufu as the Great Pyramid was sometimes called.  The children had all been there before as well, back in the spring and summer of 2008, but the Munchkins were only babies then and only recalled flashes of events from that archaeological dig.  David, having been seven years old at the time, did have many memories of the visit.

Daniel took a lot of photos of the kids as they explored the exterior and climbed up some of the steps.  Jaro was also kind enough to take several of his friend with the kids as well.

Then it was time for the real adventure, the trip inside the Great Pyramid.

====

“Put these on,” Jaro instructed about the hard hats everyone had to wear when going inside the Great Pyramid.  “Make sure the strap is secure.”

After the kids took hold of the helmets, Daniel helped them to put them on.  They were yellow and somewhat reminiscent of those the kids wore when riding their bicycles at home.  Each hat had a strap that was about an inch-and-a-half wide with which to secure the helmets properly.  He also made sure the kids had their water bottles full and properly affixed to their belts.  He didn't want them worrying about backpacks and such when making the climb up or down the steep passageways.

Daniel kneeled down in front of his children and reminded sternly, “This is not playtime.  No one, and I mean no one, takes one step that I haven't said is okay for them to make.  Men are working inside.  It's dangerous.  The ascending and descending passages are very steep.  If you need help, I expect you to be mature enough to ask for it.  No hurrying, no pushing, no running, no arguing.  The only general in this outfit while we're inside is this one,” he pointed at himself, “and anyone who breaks those rules won't be going on any digs or family adventures for a long time.  Is that clear?”

“Wow, Daddy,” Jonny sighed in amazement.  “You have big general eyes.”

“Answer my question,” Daniel reiterated.  “Is that clear?”

“Yes, Daddy,” all three children acknowledged.

As they readied to go inside, Jonny whispered to his brothers, “Sometimes, Daddy can be as scary as Dad.”

“We hafta be good, Jonny,” Little Danny returned.  “I wanna come back again.”

“Me, too,” David agreed, already willing himself not to step out of line for even a second.

From behind the children, Jaro asked, “Were you not overly stern with them, my friend?”

“You don't know my brood,” Daniel mused.  “They think they're invincible.”

Jaro nodded, though truly not understanding the real depths of reasoning behind the harsh warning Daniel had given the boys.

====

Jaro led the way, followed by Jonny, Little Danny, David, and Daniel.  They walked through the current entrance and made their way over to the original passageway.

“We'll go down here,” Jaro advised.

The boys looked around, completely in awe.  The passageway wasn't even four feet across.  It felt like a tunnel to them.

“This is really neat, Little Danny,” Jonny stated enthusiastically.  “We could run and ...”

Little Danny glared at his brother as he reprimanded, “You know we're not supposed to play in the Great Pyramid.”

“I know,” Jonny sighed, “but it would be fun.”

“Tell me what you see,” Daniel requested of his children, wanting them to think about their surroundings before heading forward.

Touching the sides of the walls, David answered, “It's very smooth.”

“But the ground's not,” Jonny stated from a stooped position.  “We have to be careful walking down.  It's uneven.”

“Walking?” Daniel chuckled, having overheard Jonny's earlier comment.  ~Smart like his dad.~

“You could slide down, Daddy,” David teased.  “It might be hard on your butt, though.”

Daniel rolled his eyes at his young genius and looked off to the side as he shook his head.

“We'll walk, you can roll,” Jonny joked.  When Daniel's expressionless face looked his way, the boy explained, “We're not as tall as you, Daddy.”

Jonny snickered, knowing his tall father was going to have a harder time than he and his siblings because of the lack of height of the passage.

“Daddy's like a giraffe in here,” Little Danny added with a smile.

Jaro laughed, “Your children are funny.”

“Yes, aren't they.”

More seriously, Jaro told the children, “And now you know one of the reasons why the public isn't allowed down here.”  He motioned for the family to follow as he directed, “Come.”

“How far down are we going?” David asked their unofficial guide.

“More than thirty meters to the intersection.”

“Ninety feet,” Jonny mumbled, making the conversion in his head.

~He has Jack's math gene,~ a hunched-over Daniel mused and not for the first time about Jonny's mathematical abilities.

====

At the intersection, Jaro questioned, “Daniel, shall we continue to the bottom or shall we go up?  The choice is yours.”

Daniel saw the pleading looks from the children's faces and responded, “To the bottom, Jaro.”

Jaro unlocked the gate that closed off the area to tourists and went through, followed by the Jackson-O'Neills.

“Why is this called the intersection?” Jonny questioned as the group continued the long walk along the descending passageway.

“It is the point where the ascending and descending passages meet,” Jaro answered.

“But I thought we were in the original passageway,” a somewhat confused Jonny returned.

“We entered at the original passageway, which is now the descending passage,” he elaborated about the narrow pathway that sloped downward over three-hundred feet from the entrance to the bottom.

“We'll examine the intersection more when we come back up,” Daniel told the kids.

====

“There's nothing down here,” Jonny observed when the five arrived inside the chamber.

“It's the pit,” Daniel explained.  “Some people believe that Khufu was going to be buried here originally, but then he changed his mind.  Why would he do that?”

“He was the Pharoah,” Little Danny spoke up.  “He'd want to be above everyone, wouldn't he?”

“Yes, exactly.  With the change in plans, this chamber remained unfinished with no other purpose, so they say,” Daniel elaborated.

“It is also called the subterranean chamber,” Jaro elucidated.  “We are six-hundred feet below the apex of the pyramid.”

“And a hundred-and-fifty feet below the base of the pyramid.”

“Wow!” Jonny exclaimed.  “We really are underground.”

With a smile, the father instructed, “Relax for a couple of minutes and look around, but we can't stay very long.”

“How come?” David inquired.

“The air,” Daniel answered.  “It isn't that great down here.”

The children nodded as they leisurely explored the more or less empty pit.

====

“This is the ascending passage that leads to the grand gallery,” Jaro announced when the visitors returned to the intersection, the place where the two passageways connected.

“Steep,” Jonny noted.  ~If we took out the slats, it would make a great slide though.~

“I think it's just like the descending passage,” Little Danny replied.

“You're right,” Daniel confirmed.  “It's the same twenty-six-degree angle, and it's  not quite four-feet high.”  Hunching over and following the others along the passage, he opined, ~I think this was easier when I was younger.~

====

When they reached the grand gallery, the group was able to stand normally as this area had a tall ceiling.  It was a good spot for a quick breather before moving on to the next point.

“Where are the pictures?” the oldest Munchkin questioned.

“Pictures?” Daniel questioned curiously.

“It's a gallery.  Galleries have pictures,” the boy explained.

“Oh, uh, well,” Daniel began as he looked around.  “Actually, no one really knows what the grand gallery was for, not for certain, so we just accept it as being a hallway where we can stand up.”  He reflected for a bit and supposed, “It could be part of the drainage or maintenance system.  The truth is there are more questions than answers, and there are probably more guesses than facts about all of it, especially since none of the other pyramids have a grand gallery.”

“That you know of,” Little Danny responded.

“That we know of,” the father acknowledged with a smile.

“The queen's chamber is that way,” Jaro interjected, pointing southward.

“But we'll save that for another time,” Daniel stated, not wanting to rush through the pyramid adventure.

David was about to complain when he remembered the rules.  He managed to bite his lip just in time to save himself from getting into trouble.

“Hey, it's a triangle,” Jonny observed as he stared up at the ceiling.

“That's called a ... a corbelled ceiling,” Daniel responded.

“Jeff would know that,” David spoke about his older brother who loved architecture.

“Probably,” Daniel agreed.

Obediently, the children got in line to continue their journey.  The next narrow passageway led to the upper grand gallery.

====

“Wow!” Little Danny exclaimed, his face alight with wonder as if he were at Disneyland for the first time.  Only in this case, he was in a spacious room that was known as the king's chamber.  “Daddy, is this where Khufu was buried?”

“Is that his coffin?” Jonny interjected, running over to the rectangular block that was missing a big piece on one end.  ~Maybe a vampire chiseled it away,~ he thought, letting his vivid imagination go to work.

“It is the coffer,” Jaro confirmed.

“A lot of people call it the ... sarcophagus,” Daniel sighed, unable to block his mind from SG-1's many encounters with Goa'uld sarcophagi over the years.  ~Not to mention actually being in one several times.  Seems like a lifetime ago,~ the archaeologist thought with a shudder.

“The sarcophagus is made of large blocks of red Aswan granite,” Jaro told the children.  “It is sad, but long before archaeologists explored the chambers, all here had been disturbed by thieves.”

“Thieves?” Jonny questioned.  “What was there to steal?”

“Treasures, boy, many treasures,” Jaro answered.

“It ... it really was a huge loss, Son,” Daniel put forth.  “Looters came into the pyramids before they were protected and took just about everything they could.  What we discover now was too well buried or hidden for the looters to find.”

“Hidden where?” the little general inquired, actually being quite fascinated by the concept of buried treasure inside the pyramids.

Little Danny scooted over to the wall and pressed his thumbnail into it as he answered, “Maybe here.”

His namesake's action and remark caused Daniel to smile inwardly as he replied, “Yes, exactly.”

“Or perhaps behind a stone.  That is how we found the chambers above,” Jaro revealed mysteriously while pointing up towards the ceiling.

“The five chambers that go to the top of the pyramid?” Little Danny asked, having read about the discoveries at home.  “How far up is that, Daddy?” he queried as he tilted his head back and imagined seeing straight through the ceiling.

“About three-hundred-and-twelve feet, give or take a few inches ... or feet,” the archaeologist responded.

“You will be amazed,” Jaro spoke with a smile.  “Not many are allowed to see.”

Daniel's heart flip-flopped from the excitement.  He was going to see something rare and special.  The blood flowing within him was pulsating from the thrill of anticipation.  This was why he had left the rest of his family to come to Egypt, and the anticipation was the most he'd felt professionally since his first trip to Atlantis.

Before that adventure to the five chambers would begin, though, it was time to let the boys absorb their surroundings and imagine life in ancient Egypt.

--

Jonny stepped inside the sarcophagus and sat down.  Then he settled back as if going to sleep, even closing his eyes.  He folded his arms across his chest, silently thinking about images he'd seen of people in similar situations.

David walked contemplatively around the chamber, sometimes running the palms of his hands against the stones.  He studied them closely, examining their placement and how they fit together.  Part of him wished Jeff were along for the visit so they could discuss the specifics of how the pyramids were built.  He was fascinated by the construction and how one well-fitted stone kept others secure to prevent them from falling.

Little Danny sat down in the center of the room in a Yoga type position.  He stared straight ahead, only he wasn't focused on anything.  He closed his eyes and let his mind take him back to another time.

By the door, Jaro sat by himself, watching the visitors with curiosity.  He could sense the archaeologist's joy at what was to come, but he also sensed a delight from his old friend in watching the children harmonize with the king's chamber in their own unique ways.

Daniel stood for a while, meandering over to the southern end of the chamber.  He began to think about his husband.

~You'd love this, Babe.  Oh, I can hear you complaining about being inside some musty old glob of stone, but right where I'm standing, you'd love it.  You see, back when this ... glob of stone was being built, the Egyptians believed in the stars.  To them, the stars were the Nile existing in the night sky.  Here in this spot, in the southern most portion of the king's chamber, it points straight to where Orion's Belt was back then.~

The archaeologist smiled, thinking about his husband and the stars.  It made him tingle a little, feeling like his soulmate was standing beside him.

~Did you know, Love, that the southern shaft of the queen's chamber points to Syrius?  Here's the topper, as you'd call it.  On the other side of this room, the northern shaft points to the Draco constellation.  It's interesting because we're talking about circumpolar stars.  I don't know, Jack.  Some people think it has to do with death and others argue it was just the pharaohs wanting the connection to the stars.  Of course, it could all mean nothing since scientists can't even agree on just where these points really lead, but what counts is that there is a bond between the pyramids and the constellations, whether or not we understand it all.~  Daniel smiled as he softly declared, “It's a real bond, just like us.  I miss you, Jack, and I love you, so very much.~

Feeling content, Daniel wandered around the room for a couple of minutes before sitting down and entering into his own private meditation.  It was something he hadn't really had time to do in years, decades even.

====

A few minutes passed as Daniel sat in reflection, his head leaning against the wall and his eyes closed.  He felt quite serene and content.  He'd never been happier or more tranquil in life than he was in this time, with his large family.  Then he smiled.  In his lap, his namesake now sat, the boy resting his head against his father's comforting shoulders.

“Daddy, tell me a story about Grandma and Grandpa.”

The request drew the attention of Little Danny's brothers.  Jonny sat up, but remained in the sarcophagus, while David walked over and sat down next to the brick stones.

“Well, I was just thinking about something I think I'd forgotten until today.  I was so young when they died.  I wish ... I wish I remembered more, but we were here, right here at the Great Pyramid.  Mommy was in the lower grand gallery.  I ... gawd, I must have been three.  I ... was so little.”

Daniel smiled as he let the memory come forth from the deep recesses of his mind, where it had been buried for most of his life.  He didn't rush it.  He let it emerge, like a butterfly being freed from its cocoon.

“It might be the first memory I have of her,” Daniel offered in a respectful whisper.  “She ... she had a bandana on.”  He let out an amazed chortle.  “I wonder if that's why I love bandanas so much.  It's a connection with my mother.”

“You remembered, Daddy,” Little Danny stated quietly.

“You just didn't know you remembered,” Jonny suggested with a nod.

“I think you're right; you're both right,” the archaeologist acknowledged.  He sighed as he thought back to the story.  “I remember someone shouting.  I think ... I think they wanted her to go faster, but she refused.  She ... She was teaching me, and when they yelled ...”

Daniel paused, the recollection forming, but yet taking its time in doing so.

“My grandma wouldn't let them yell at you,” Jonny insisted sternly.

“I'll bet she kept teaching you, didn't she, Daddy?” the child prodigy guessed.

“Yeah, that's exactly what she did.”  As he thought back, Daniel couldn't help but smile.  He was feeling wanted, loved, and valued by his mother.  “A couple of them were unhappy.  I don't why.  Maybe they were behind schedule, or maybe they just didn't like having a three-year-old inside the pyramid with them, but I remember now that she held me in her arms and really told them off.  I couldn't tell you what she said, only that she was protecting me.  After that, they left us alone.  I started to cry, but she held me and told me she loved me.  'My Little Pharaoh, I love you, and I need your help.  Can you help me?”

“You did, huh?” Little Danny asked.

“Well, I don't know how much good I really did her, but I was right there.  She gave me a hand brush and told me when to use it as she worked.  I felt so proud.”  Daniel paused, unaware that tears were rolling down his cheeks.  “So proud.”

The next thing the father knew, his namesake had thrown his arms around him, giving him a huge hug.

“I'm proud of you, too, Daddy.”

“Aw, thank you.”

“Me, too,” Jonny boasted from his kingly throne.

“We all are,” David added quietly, feeling very immersed in the story as he remembered the love of his birth parents.

“Come here,” Daniel urged, his arm swinging wide in invitation.

Quickly, David somewhat crawled over to sit next to his father, with Little Danny moving to sit on the opposite side of Daniel.

“Do you remember your parents being proud of you?” Daniel asked the oldest boy.  Feeling a nod against his arm, Daniel put his arm around David, squeezing the boy to him, and requested, “How about telling us?”

“Yeah, tell us, David,” Jonny encouraged.

Still by the door, Jaro could hear the discussion.  He felt confused by it, since he didn't know the history of Daniel's family.  He knew nothing of his wife or when they'd been married, so the mention of other parents confounded him greatly.

~Very strange,~ Jaro opined, briefly considering asking his old friend about the odd conversation.  ~No, it is not my place to ask.~

“During a storm, our fence blew down.  I helped Daddy to fix it.  That sounds dumb,” David sighed as he shrugged, suddenly feeling like a child and not a pre-teenager.

“No, it's not,” Daniel refuted.

“Not dumb, David,” Little Danny said at the same time.

“Helping is good,” Jonny added.

All three remarks had been spoken at about the same time, causing the family to chuckle.

“Son, anytime you help someone else, it's a good thing.  It's never dumb.  I'm positive that your daddy needed and wanted your help very much, just like I did when you helped me fix those boards in on the back porch.”  Daniel rubbed the Mouseketeer's arm as he assured, “I needed your help, and I was proud of you for offering that day.”

“I would have helped, Daddy, but I had to clean my room,” Jonny groused, his head in the palms of his hands as his elbows rested on the top of the sarcophagus.

“What's the moral of the story?” Daniel questioned the little general.

“I know,” Jonny sighed, plopping backwards and disappearing behind the walls of the encasement.

“You made me feel good, Daddy, and ... I felt good helping my daddy fix the fence that day.  It was a big job, and ... I was just a kid then.  Noa was sick, too, and we had to get it done fast so Daddy could help Mommy.”

“See, he couldn't have done it without you.”

David smiled and sighed, “I miss them.”

“I know you do, and you should,” Daniel responded without hesitation, placing a kiss on the top of David's head.  “I bet it was a big storm.”

“It was,” David chuckled as he continued to talk more about that day when the fence had blown down.

More confused than ever, Jaro just shook his head and stood up, deciding to stretch for a while.

====

The kids were using their imaginations as they thought about life in ancient Egypt.

Suddenly, Jonny stood up in the middle of the sarcophagus, folded his arms commandingly, and stated regally, “*I* am the pharaoh.  You are my subjects.  Bow before me.”

“Let's not,” Daniel interjected.

“I'm just playing Daddy.”

“Great Pharaoh, don't hurt us,” Little Danny pleaded, getting down on his knees.

~Well, why not?  It's been a long time since I've gotten down on my knees for a ... false god,~ Daniel mused dryly, joining the other two boys in a position of humility.  “How may we serve?”

“Wash my clothes,” Jonny demanded, handing over his make believe wardrobe to his younger father.

“It is my honor to serve,” Daniel stated with a wry smile.  ~Memories of mind control in the ice age now.  Why can't I forget this stuff?~

The play continued until Jonny suddenly questioned, “Daddy, how'd they get this up the stairs and through the door?”

“They didn't,” Daniel answered.  “They probably built this here.  It's not affixed to the floor; it's just ... standing here.”

“Was there a lid?” David asked.

“Probably, at one time.”

Suddenly, Jonny grimaced and asked, “Was Cootie's body here?”

“Khufu!” Little Danny corrected with a stern voice.

“Or Cheops,” Daniel pointed out.  “Cheops is the Greek name for Khufu.”

“But was Khufu buried here?” Jonny repeated, saying the king's name right in order to avoid another rebuke from his fellow Munchkin.

“Probably not,” Daniel answered.  “We don't really know much about Khufu.  There's only one image thought to be him, or maybe three, but he's pretty much a mystery, outside of building these pyramids.  We're not even sure how long he ruled.  Most scholars are using twenty-three years as the rule, but others say it was at least twice that, but back to your question, Jonny, his mummy has never been found.”

“He could be here then,” Jonny asserted looking down at the ground.  ~Gosh!~

Daniel shrugged, “Maybe.  They're still finding stones and passages.  Until we've found all there is to see in the Great Pyramid, anything is possible.”

====

Fifteen minutes later, Daniel followed Jaro outside the chamber.  They stayed near the door so the father could keep a watchful eye on his charges, but went far enough that the Egyptian could point out how the archaeologist could reach the five chambers.

From the doorway, Jonny and Little Danny watched while David ambled around the room some more.

“Boys, time to go back down,” Daniel called out as he and Jaro walked back to the chamber.  “In fact, I have a surprise for you.”

“I love surprises,” Jonny stated.

“Good.  We, uh, have time to go see the queen's chambers,” Daniel announced.

“That'll be great, Daddy,” David replied, having a sense for the sudden change in plans.

“Daddy, aren't you going up to the chambers?” Little Danny questioned.

“Not this trip.”

“Why not?”

“There's not enough time,” Daniel claimed.  “Okay, let's go.”  He began to walk towards the ascending passage to begin the trip down, but he quickly realized that only Jaro had followed him.  “Boys!”

“It's because of us,” Little Danny bemoaned, his big blue eyes shining with conflict.

~Why does he have to be so intuitive?~  Daniel sighed and knew he had to be honest.  “Son, it's too dangerous.  You know how hard it was to get up here.  Well, getting up to the chambers is not just hard, it's dangerous.  From what Jaro tells me, it's climbing a ladder and then negotiating your way through narrow passages, and ... well, I'm sorry, but I can't let you do that.  ~Especially without talking to Jack first, something I can't mention in front of Jaro.~

With a quick blink, David put his hands on the Munchkins' shoulders and urged, “Time to go.”

Little Danny didn't budge, though, and neither did Jonny.

“Boys, thank you, but we have to go now,” Daniel instructed.  ~Why do I feel like they aren't going to make this easy?  They have that stubborn look in their eyes.  It reminds me of ... me, standing, or rather kneeling, in front of Apophis and sounding off like a smart ...~

“If we weren't here, and it was just you and David, you'd let him go, huh?” Jonny questioned, bringing his father out of his memories.

“I don't know.  Maybe,” Daniel answered truthfully about the twelve-year-old who was taller and better able to negotiate the difficult entries to the five chambers.

The Munchkins looked at each other, nodded, and then scurried back inside the king's chamber.  They returned to the sarcophagus, climbed inside, and sat down.

“Jonny, Little Danny, what are you doing?” the surprised father called out as he ran inside, sighing when he saw them.

“Daddy, you and David can go,” Little Danny stated.  “Jonny and I can stay here.”

“No, I can't ...”

“Jaro can stay with us,” Jonny interrupted.  “He's your friend.  You trust him, right?  So he can stay here and baby-sit.”  The boy frowned as he inwardly whined, ~But we're not babies.~

“You can find the chambers without Jaro, right?” Little Danny queried, not waiting for a response.  “Then you and David can take some pictures and tell us all about them later.”

Daniel didn't know what to say.  He wanted to go, but leaving the Munchkins for a few hours on their own wasn't something he felt secure in doing.

“I will stay with them,” Jaro promised with a smile.  ~They are good, insightful boys.  Reminds me of my own son, Ashan.~

“Thank you, but ...”

“Please, Daddy,” Little Danny implored.  “We'll feel bad forever if you don't do it.”

“Yeah, forever,” Jonny verified.

“I love you both for wanting me to do this, but you are my priorities.”

“I have an idea!” Little Danny exclaimed before leaning over to whisper something into his brother's ear.

“That's a good one,” Jonny agreed, waving David over and then sharing the possibility with him.

“Well, yeah, but I don't know how,” David responded.  “Daddy,” the boy called out, waving his father closer.

Daniel listened, his eyes widening at the idea he was hearing.  When David pulled back, the archaeologist walked forward a bit and then all the way around the sarcophagus.  It was an intriguing suggestion; he just wasn't sure if there was really a chance or not.  Still, it was the only solution.  He hadn't seen Jaro in years, and he'd just worked with him for a few weeks once.  There was no way he could entrust the Munchkins to a stranger, and Jaro was more stranger than friend, truth be told.

“Uh, Jaro, would you go on ahead, and we'll meet you at the ladder in a couple of minutes,” Daniel requested.

“What of your sons?” the guide asked imploringly.

“They'll be fine,” Daniel asserted.  “I need to talk to them and if I'm not satisfied, we'll let you know and go back down.”

“As you wish,” Jaro acknowledged, going along with the curious request.

Daniel nodded to David, who went to the entrance of the chamber and looked around.  He made sure Jaro wasn't close enough to hear anything, and then the boy nodded to his father.

“Okay, well,” Daniel sighed.  “I can't shout, but, uh, Thor, if you happen to be tuned in on us today, we could use your help.  It's nothing vital, but I'd owe you one.”

“Daddy,” Jonny whined.  “Ya gotta tell him.  Like this -- *Thor!*” he voiced in a firm and demanding tone.

Sure enough, a hologram of the Asgard leader appeared.  He was sitting in his chair, looking very supreme.

“Thanks for coming, well, sort of.  I mean thanks.”

Daniel shook his head.  He had suddenly lost command of the English language.  He just never could get over the fact that the Asgard watched the family so closely.  Actually, he preferred not to think about it and usually succeeded in eliminating the notion that Thor was Asgard-dropping in on them with regularity.

~He's amazing in a pinch, but he still has a case of bad timing sometimes.  Gawd, he used to beam in right when we were ... why am I thinking about this here?  Focus, Jackson!~

“Thor, can we come and visit you on The Daniel Jackson for a few hours?” Little Danny asked.  “Daddy has a chance to do something special with David, but we need a babysitter.  Please.”

“... with ice cream on top,” Jonny implored.

“It would be greatly appreciated,” Daniel added.  “Uh, we'd need you to monitor us.  There's someone else here, so it's important that he not suspect anything ... you know.”  He smiled a bit nervously when the Asgard simply stared blankly at him.  “Uh, well, anyway, I need the boys back in this room before we come back in with the other person who is with us.”

“As you wish.”  With as close of a smile as Thor had ever given, he announced, “Two to beam up.”

“Bye, Da...”

“Uh, but ...”  Daniel sighed, wishing he'd gotten a hug from each boy and a goodbye first before the Munchkins had gone up to the huge spaceship.  “Okay, well, you ready for this?”

“It'll be exciting.”

“And dangerous.  Same rules, David.  Go slow.  Every step counts.  You stay in front of me and behind Jaro.  Understood?”

====

Jaro's confusion rose even more when Daniel and David walked up to him without the other two boys and were eager and ready to go.

~I am sure the boys will be safe,~ Jaro opined as he opted not to question the absence of Jonny and Little Danny.

The guide gave Daniel and David knee pads and small, handheld lights to use.  After a check to make sure their helmets were still properly affixed and that their water was tied securely to their belts, Jaro told both what to expect as they climbed up above the king's chambers to the five small chambers that were above it.

“The first chamber we cannot enter, Daniel.”

“How come?”

“It is too small.  Not even David could fit.  Perhaps young Danny or Jonny, but it is very tiny and difficult to get inside,” Jaro explained as the three climbed the twenty-eight-foot ladder.  “Be careful,” he urged as they transitioned to cross through a long tunnel, something that could be very claustrophobic for those susceptible to the affliction.

“Take your time, Son,” Daniel urged from behind.  ~Gawd, Jack is going to kill me when he finds out about this.  This wasn't a good idea.  Selfish: I was being selfish.~

Finally, Jaro made the crossover, entering the second chamber and announced, “Here.”

“This is so cool,” David opined as he successfully crawled inside the second chamber.  “Hey, what's that?” he asked, pointing to large black writing on the wall.

“The British explorers labeled this chamber when they found it,” Jaro explained.

At that point, Daniel crawled in and sat up while looking around.  He took in every inch of the place, trying to imagine what it was like when the chamber was first built while also pondering why this chamber, and the others, were part of the pyramid at all.

“So an explorer named Wellington found this chamber?” the boy asked.

“No.  In 1837 when the explorers found the chambers, Vyse, the man in charge, named each after important friends and associates.  Davidson in the first was named for the first Duke of Wellington; Nelson in the third was named for Vice Admiral Horation Nelson, Lady Arbuthnot in the fourth chamber was for the wife of Sir Robert Keither Arbuthnot, Anne Fitzgerald, and the highest chamber, the fifth, was named for Patrick Campbell.  He served as the British Agent and Consul General in Egypt at the time the chambers were found.”

After a few minutes, the three went to up to Nelson's chamber to see what was there.

“The cartouches here are the most preserved,” Jaro announced.

“The humidity's taking a toll,” Daniel accessed.

“Very much so.”

“What does that mean?” David inquired.

“Every human who enters the pyramid gives off water.  It turns to salt.  That and the natural humidity are eroding the stones and the graffiti.”

“That is why the pyramids are often closed now.  It is the only way to protect them,” Jaro elaborated.

“Forty-six centuries is a long time to survive the elements,” Daniel opined as he looked around.

====

In the fourth chamber, Daniel was studying the writing there as he whispered, “Followers of Khufu.”

“The slaves?” David inquired.

“That's up for debate, but I ... I don't know.”

“Zahi insists there were no slaves,” Jaro pointed out about Egypt's leading archaeologist.  “He says there were gangs.”

“Gangs?  Like street gangs?” the tween questioned.

“Groups, David.  Gangs didn't have the negative connotation then that it does now,” Daniel explained.

“Oh, okay.”

“The worker's cemetery seems to support the idea that slaves weren't used to build the pyramids, but rather, employees.”

“Workers lived very short lives, maybe thirty years,” Jaro added.  “The examiners have found proof of very bad backs and bone issues.”

“It's probably where the phrase 'breaking our backs' comes from,” Daniel thought aloud.

“Is that paint?” David inquired as he studied the graffiti on the wall.

“They called it mafet,” Daniel answered.

“Red bricks brought from the western desert,” Jaro elaborated.

“Let's see what else is here.”

====

“This is the most difficult chamber to get into,” Jaro warned.  “It is very tight.”

As he slowly maneuvered between two slabs of stone, Daniel replied, “I feel like an Oreo cookie, and I'm the creamy filling.”

“That's a good one, Daddy,” David chuckled.  ~All we are missing is a cold glass of milk.~

“Thanks.”

Once inside the fifth chamber, the one named for Campbell, Daniel and David took a minute to get their bearings, looking all around.

“It's a gabled roof,” David noted.

“See that wall?” Daniel spoke, indicating with his hand the one he was speaking about.  “It's limestone.”

As he twisted his body around to face his father, David asked, “What's the purpose of these chambers?”

“Some people think they are relieving chambers, built to help relieve the stress on the structure.  That would be where the roof comes in.  It helps to transfer the weight to the walls.”  Daniel thought for a moment and added, “And then some people say it's part of the air system or the water process, and others say it's all about the stars.”

“So no one knows?”

“Not for sure.  It's just a lot of educated guessing.”

“I will go down now.  You know the way.  Shall I check on your young sons?” Jaro asked, sensing it was his time to leave.

“No, no, that's okay.  They're fine,” Daniel assured.  “Thank you, Jaro.”

“It was good to see you again, Daniel,” Jaro returned kindly.

“You, too.”

====

With Jaro gone, Daniel and David had a chance to really examine the Campbell chamber and discuss even more possibilities for the building of the Great Pyramid.

“Daddy, does it matter to your theory if the pyramids were built by slaves or workers?”

“You have to be careful of words, Son.”

“Like with the 'gangs' thing before?”

“Exactly,” Daniel replied.  “Words can restrict your studies.  The Goa'uld infested the Jaffa like parasites, but no one ever really considered them slaves because they fought so hard.  Sometimes, it wasn't that easy to remember that they were being dominated by another species.  They were forced to do things; yes, they meet the dictionary definition of a slave, which is?”

“Someone held in servitude, who has to do the bidding of others; a hard worker, but not for themselves,” David recited.

“A person owned like property,” Daniel responded.  “That's the Jaffa.  The Goa'uld came to Earth and pretended to be gods.  Whether they waved a whip around like you see in the movies or paid pauper's wages and gave the Egyptians a cemetery doesn't really change anything.”

“Because they still worked all day and ended up with nothing,” David surmised.

“They could have been fooled into cooperating,” Daniel theorized.  “I'm not willing to say that maybe some of the Goa'uld didn't work out an easier and simpler deal for themselves here, but it's just not as simple as drawing a line and saying 'this is a slave' and 'this is an employee'.”

David looked up at the roof and asked, “And the ships land right on the point?”  He paused just a second and added, “Were they big?”

“Oh, yeah, very big,” Daniel answered.  “They cause a little ... rumbling, but they don't really do any damage.  They just ... loom overhead and settle down on the top.”

“Could one land here now?”

Daniel nodded and answered, “Yes, one could.”

“Wow.”

====

“I spent hours and hours inside the cartouche,” Daniel told his son about his experience on Abydos.  “I never got tired, and it never got old.”

“There's not that much here,” David noted.  “Does it, you know, disappoint you?”

“Never,” Daniel answered.  “There could be just one piece of ancient writing, and it would fill me with excitement because one inscription is a world of history.  You just have to think beyond the word.”

“Because a word is just a word, right?”

“Something like that.”  Daniel pointed over to the fading mafet and suggested, “Put yourself back in time.  Imagine what it was like to be building this pyramid. Maybe you're an Egyptian, or maybe you're a Jaffa, but you're building this ... this huge creation and you climb all the way up here, and you make your mark.  Think about how that felt.”  He sighed contemplatively.  “David, it's never about being right; it's about people: who they were, how they lived, what they felt, and how their history ties into ours.  Being right is nice, but in archaeology, anthropology, or any field that studies life before modern times, right means nothing; learning means everything.”

“It's the same with rocks, Daddy.  Knowing where a rock came from can tell you a lot about a place and then you guess about how the people lived.”

“And that's where your mind and imagination comes in to play.  Don't be limited by what you've read.  Let it guide you, but remember the pyramids.  Forty-six centuries they've been here, and for the most part, we're still guessing and trying to imagine the strength and desires of a great people.”  The archaeologist let his hands drop over his knees as he sat and reviewed the chamber and its makeup.  “Okay, so pyramids really are landing pads for alien spaceships.  I was right about that; and, yes, there was a cross pollination of cultures because the Goa'uld did enslave human beings and take them to other worlds, but if I stop at that then I've done myself a disservice.  Any guesses why?”

David thought, his mind trying to work out the puzzle.  A couple of minutes passed and finally the almost-teenager sighed and shook his head.

“Don't worry about not knowing all the answers now, David.  You could live nine lifetimes and still not know all the answers.  I thought I was right with my theories ...”

“You are right.”

“Yes, but I didn't go far enough.  What about the tombs and the mastabas?” Daniel questioned.

“The burial tombs?  The ones with the flat roofs and the sides that slope down?”

“Yes, the mastabas?  The Goa'uld don't care about mastabas.  They thought of themselves as gods, David, invincible.  They rejuvenated themselves by sarcophagi.”

“Like the one in the king's chamber?”

“No, that's ... Son, that's just a coffin, a coffer like Jaro said.  The kind of sarcophagus I'm talking about has ... unusual power.  Now, maybe I'm crossing a line here, but I'm going to cross it.  Dad has a big thing about me being willing to cross lines in pyramids.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind.  Bad joke that's not really a joke and it's neither here nor there right now, but what is important I'm going to tell you, but until I talk to Dad, this is something you can't share with your siblings.”

“About the Goa'uld?” the tween guessed correctly.

“Yes, and Dad and I still have to be careful, especially with the younger ones.  Do you understand?”  Seeing his son's nod, Daniel expounded, “The sarcophagi have the ability to restore, well, not really restore, although ....”

When Daniel shuddered a bit, shaking his head in the process, David scooted over closer and asked, “Are you okay, Daddy?  You don't have to tell me.”

“I'm fine.  It's just ... there are a lot of memories about the sarcophagus.”  He took a breath and in a cross of playfulness and sarcasm began, “Once upon a time, there was a Goa'uld named Telchek.  Let's just say he was hooked on living forever and he altered a, a healing device created by the ... uh, by another race, and, well, he created the sarcophagus.”

“It healed sick people?”

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel sighed.  “It could make you lots better, way too lots better.”

David blinked at the incorrect word structure of his linguist father's sentence, and he saw his daddy look away reflectively for almost twenty seconds.

“Um, anyway, it could cure diseases and extend life for a ... a very long time,” Daniel confided.  “In fact, the truth is that the Goa'uld lived for hundreds of years because they essentially slept in the sarcophagus every night.”

“For real?”

“That's why human beings so easily bought into the false god concept.  The stories would sound legendary and go back so far that it was hard for them to realize that the Goa'uld were just using technology to live so much longer than anyone else.”

“That's awesome,” the boy responded.  “I mean ...”

“I know.  It's an exciting thought sometimes, to think about living that long.”

“What if they got hurt?  Or didn't they fight in battles?”

“Well, the sarcophagus not only heals, but it can ... restore life, as long as you get the body inside quick enough.”

“Oh wow!”  David thought for a moment and then asked, “Daddy, if the sarcophagus can do that, why don't we use it to save lives?”

“Because it's not all good.  The more you use a sarcophagus, the more dangerous it becomes.  It takes over your mind.  You ... you become addicted to it.  One day, you're feeling refreshed and alive, and then the next day, you're elated for no reason, but you are, and you feel like ... you feel invincible, like everything is perfect, only it's not, because the next day, you suddenly realize that you don't have any illnesses or injuries, but you need to spend time inside the sarcophagus, and if you don't, it's ...”

In a soft tone, David couldn't believe what he was about to ask, but he had to.

“Daddy, did you use the sarcophagus?”

The query should have been expected, but it hit Daniel like a knife jabbing through his heart.  His whole body jerked as his heart raced.

“Daddy?” David inquired with concern.  ~Darn it, I shouldn't have asked.~

“Yes, I did, more than once, and we're not going to talk about those times right now except that I want you to understand that a sarcophagus is like a drug or alcohol.  It's a narcotic of the worst kind.  Use it once and count your blessings, but use it twice or more, and you face a real life nightmare,” Daniel warned.  ~I hope the children never encounter the Goa'uld or have a reason to use a sarcophagus, but if they become explorers, who knows what they will encounter out there.  It's irrational, but I wish Jack and I could protect our brood forever.~

“Did Dad use it?” David asked quietly.

“Yes.  Look, David, I wanted to tell you about this because you're getting older and working with Jen on the Teen Gater Program and ... because Egypt is a special place.  Its people were invaded by the Goa'uld, forced to live in a way that was not of their own choosing, and then were taken through the Stargate to other worlds.  There were real pharaohs, authentic kings of Egypt who were buried in the tombs, but it was the false gods that controlled life in much of ancient Egypt. Knowing what we know about the Goa'uld is a gift in that we can see beyond some of the debates going on.  Words: slaves versus employees.  It doesn't matter, but you can't ever lean so far one way that you completely dismiss the rest of the universe.  From the third to the eighteenth dynasties, over a course of thirty-five-hundred years, there were one-hundred-and-eighteen pyramids built.  Were they *all* built for the Goa'uld?  To work with Goa'uld ships, there has to be a strong apex like there is in the Great Pyramid; yet some of the pyramids don't have that sharpness.  Some are ... almost like mounds.”

“Like the satellite pyramids,” David put forth enthusiastically.

“Exactly.  Who knows?  Maybe building pyramids was a tradition that caught on, with or without the Goa'uld.  All I'm saying is keep your mind open to possibilities.  The more you do, the better you'll be as a scientist.”

David nodded and then the father and son took one last look in each chamber before returning through the forced passage and climbing down the tall ladder and into the king's chamber.

“Was it fun?” Little Danny asked excitedly from his spot near the sarcophagus.

“It was great,” David responded, his grin all the answer that the Munchkins needed to feel that they had been right in their small revolt.

“Did you just ...” Daniel asked.

“Uh-huh,” Jonny answered, verifying that Thor had only just beamed the younger boys back inside the pyramid.  “We had fun, too.”

“Did you remember to thank Thor?”

Little Danny looked upward and called out, “Thanks, Thor.”

“It's late,” Daniel noted.  “Take a last look around if you want and then we have to go.”

====

It was nighttime as Daniel drove the jeep towards the hotel.  The kids were tired, but still talking a mile a minute about their adventures.

“Thor let me steer the ship,” Little Danny spoke in an upbeat voice.

“And I rode shotgun,” Jonny added proudly, having picked up the terminology from his older father.

“David, what were the chambers like?” the child prodigy asked.

“I learned a lot,” David answered.  “You know what, little brother?” he asked brightly.  “Someday, I'm going to take you there, and we'll learn a lot more together.  Until then, we have the pictures that me and Daddy took to show you.”

“Didn't you learn it all today with Daddy?” Jonny questioned dubiously.

Sharing a smiling glance with the archaeologist, David answered, “Nope.  There's always more to learn, no matter how much you know.”

The day in Egypt was a time Daniel would never forget.  Even so, he couldn't wait to get back to his soulmate and the rest of their children.  There was so much to share, about the five chambers, the Munchkins' time with Thor, and a father's recollection of a memory recalled without warning.

As he listened to the boys discussing their special day, Daniel felt both exhilarated about the day and determined to have more of them in the future.

“Daddy, next time we come to Egypt, can we climb to the top of the pyramid like you did?” Jonny asked in eager anticipation.

“Yeah, I wanna do that, too,” Little Danny added.  “We can go up to the chambers one day and climb the pyramid on another day.”

“I'm in,” David stated.

“Me, too,” Jonny agreed.

“Me three,” Little Danny added.

The archaeologist broke out into laughter and then responded, “Me four.”

The kids cheered, having something to look forward to, and they hoped it would be soon.

With a chuckle, Daniel mused, ~Why not?  Jack's already going to kill me for letting David go up to the chambers with me and for letting the Munchkins hang out with their friend, Thor, on his ship for hours.~  Letting loose with more laughter, he told the kids, “But you get to tell Dad.”

As the kids laughed with their father, the love and joy of this family was undeniable.  Their adventures were still just beginning.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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